Listen. Respect. Believe. Keeping children safe.
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As adults, whether in the role of childcare worker, trusted family member or friend, we all share the responsibility of making sure children feel safe, and are safe.
Children thrive when they can grow up safe, connected and supported within their family, community, and culture. They flourish in environments that support their needs, both immediate and long-term.
National Child Protection Week (4-10 September 2022) is about the ways that we can all work together to build communities that support children and families. This year’s theme is ‘Every child, in every community, needs a fair go’, with a particular focus on the importance of children growing up safe and supported.
When are children safest? When they are listened to, respected and believed.
Children should be listened to
Listening is a key foundation for interacting with a child.
Involving a child in decision-making forms an important part of listening. Having a say in matters that affect them, promotes confidence and empowerment. Actively listening to what a child is saying, giving them full attention, not only supports open communication, but emphasises that they are valued, and important.
Encouraging a child to voice their worries, with the knowledge they will always be listened to, will support them to raise bigger concerns should they arise.
Children should be respected
Children should ideally be viewed as capable and competent individuals, who, just like adults, are the holders of rights. These rights should always be observed and upheld, as per the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Every child has the right to be respected, regardless of age, ability and life experience.
Respectful interactions take place when a child’s attempts to communicate are welcomed, and valued. This may include taking turns in conversation and responding positively to what they are saying. Allowing a child to learn and absorb their many new emotions and feelings in a safe space also demonstrates respect.
When a child is respected, trust forms in the relationship. Showing respect to a child also instils empathy, opens up communication and encourages honesty. Creating a respectful relationship between trusted adults and a child greatly benefits a child’s self-esteem, and importantly, their sense of safety.
Children should be believed
We know, children have a lot to say!
But when they come to you with issues or worries, listening non-judgementally and believing them are essential steps in supporting them to feel safe.
Dismissing what a child is trying to say can be hurtful and harmful. It is important to build positive, warm relationships where a child feels they can turn to a trusted adult to share information and always be believed. When a child feels safe confiding in an adult, they trust we can help solve the problem or remove the barrier that is causing them concern. This promotes a feeling of safety within their environment that all children need.
Every child has the right to be safe and protected, in a secure environment where their voices are heard about decisions that affect their lives; an environment that inspires confidence, friendship, security, and happiness.
Guardian Childcare & Education adopts, meets and exceeds all Child Safe Standards that have been adopted and legislated in all states and territories of Australia. This includes the 10 Standards in Queensland (QLD), New South Wales (NSW), South Australia (SA) and the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) and the 11 standards in Victoria (Vic).
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